Songwriters given a chance to show off their new music

July 24, 2003|by KATE COLEMAN

So you write and sing your own songs, but you're getting tired of that back-porch venue and an audience consisting only of your little sister and her golden retriever.

Want a shot at the big time?

From Friday, Sept. 26, through Sunday, Sept. 28, Mountain Stage NewSong Festival will present an opportunity - at the 350-acre Claymont Court estate just outside Charles Town, W.Va.

There's still time to enter the NewSong Performing Songwriters Contest. The winner gets cash and a chance to perform Sunday on "Mountain Stage," the program that has been broadcasted for more than 20 years and is carried on more than 200 public radio and television stations worldwide.


You don't have to be a songwriter to appreciate the festival, in its second year. You can just listen to a weekend of music by songwriters and groups on several stages. They include multiple Grammy winner Kathy Mattea, 2003 Best Contemporary Folk Album Grammy-winning trio Nickel Creek and 2003 Best Song Grammy-winning songwriter Jesse Harris. Harris won for "Don't Know Why," as sung by Norah Jones.

The festival also features workshops on songcraft and performing, arts and crafts, kids' music workshops, campfire jams and music late into the night at the Blue Cardinal coffeehouse.

Advance ticket prices range from $25 for Friday or Saturday evening passes to $75 for weekend admission. Admission for kids 12 and younger is free.

Tickets for the Sunday Mountain Stage radio show cost $25.

To volunteer at the festival, call Cheryl at 1-304-876-2690 or send e-mail to

The festival is seeking vendors. Call Cheryl at 1-304-876-2690, contact Kate DiServio, merchandise vendor coordinator at; or Mary Dailey, food vendor coordinator at

For festival information, go to on the Web.

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